Noiseless and non-explosive matches

inventor: János Irinyi
time of inventon: 1846


About the inventor

János Irinyi

He was born in Transylvania. Among others he studied in Debrecen, but obtained his knowledge in chemistry at the Vienna Polytechnic. His idea of the noiseless and non-explosive match was inspired from an unsuccessful experiment of one of his professors, Pál Meissner. After a long period of experimentation he patented his invention in 1836, and also sold it to a match-maker called István Rómer. He financed his further education from the money he had received. He went abroad to study tours and attended the University of Berlin and the Agricultural Academy in Hohenheim.

In 1838 in Berlin at the age of 21 he published his book about the theory of chemistry, as well as, elaborated studies on alkaline soil. He was also the first to establish a match factory in Pest in 1839.

Irinyi was one of the most talented Hungarian chemists. He fully understood the new theories of chemistry developing in the spirit of A. L. Lavoisier. He played significant political role in the Hungarian revolution of 1848-49, he is said to compose the famous “12 points” (12 demands). He was charged by Lajos Kossuth to direct the processes of cannon and gunpowder making, as well as, to supervise the state factories. After the failure of the revolution he was sentenced to prison. After getting out of jail he withdrew from political life and fully dedicated himself to his scientific works. He played significant role in developing the Hungarian terminology in chemistry. Unfortunately, his agricultural experiments made him bankrupt, so he had to take a job as an accountant. Later he became the director of the István Mill in Debrecen. He died on 17th December 1895 in Vértes.

Noiseless and non-explosive match

The essential of the invention is that Irinyi liquefied phosphorus in warm water and shook it in a glass vial, until it became granulated. Then he mixed the phosphorus with lead and gum arabic, poured the paste-like mass into a jar, and dipped the pine sticks into the mixture and let them dry.